A closer look at the Beard Award nominees

A closer look at the Beard Award nominees

Dallas, Houston and Miami are passed over

As in most years, the list of nominees for the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards looks a lot like last year’s, with a little more than half of the nominees — 56 out of 110, including the Best New Restaurant category, all of which are new each year — nominated again in the same category as last year.

A few nominees switched categories: Fig restaurant in Charleston, S.C., was nominated for Outstanding Wine Program last year and is in the Outstanding Restaurant category this year. Zahav in Philadelphia was nominated for Outstanding Service last year and Outstanding Restaurant this year.

Canlis in Seattle and Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colo., both were nominated for Outstanding Restaurant last year, and both are nominees for Outstanding Service this year.

There were shakeups in a few categories, however: All five of the “Rising Star” nominees, which have to be age 30 or younger, are new this year. Last year four out of five were new.

Only one chef from the Midwest, Ann Kim of Young Joni in Minneapolis, is returning, and in New York City, a normally staid category, there are three new nominees: Sean Gray of Momofuku Ko, Brooks Headley of Superiority Burger and Daniela Soto-Innes of Atla. Additionally in New York, Jody Williams, who was nominated for her restaurant Buvette Gastrotheque last year, is nominated along with Rita Sodi for a different restaurant, Via Carota.

In the Southwest, two of the region’s largest cities, Dallas and Houston, were frozen out of that category, while Austin got three nominations. In fact, Dallas and Houston, as well as Miami, didn’t get any nominations at all this year.

In the West, for the second year in a row, four out of five nominees are in Los Angeles with the fifth in San Francisco. Last year’s the Bay Area nominee, Dominique Crenn, ended up winning the category.

Last year was a banner year for women at the Beard Awards, with a majority of winning chefs being female, thanks in part to the fact that a record number of women were nominated: 39 out of 82 people. (The other nominees were restaurants or bars, not people.) That’s compared to 26 women in 2017.

This year, 32 women were nominated.

Nominees not on the list last year are in bold.

Best New Restaurant 

  • Angler, San Francisco
  • Atomix, New York City
  • Bavel, Los Angeles 
  • Frenchette, New York City
  • Majordomo, Los Angeles 

Outstanding Baker

  • Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit, New York City
  • Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery and Café, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Lisa Ludwinski, Sister Pie, Detroit
  • Avery Ruzicka, Manresa Bread, Los Gatos, Calif.
  • Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread, Chicago

Outstanding Bar Program

  • Bar Agricole, San Francisco
  • Dead Rabbit, New York City
  • Kimball House, Decatur, Ga.
  • Lost Lake, Chicago
  • Ticonderoga Club, Atlanta

Outstanding Chef 

  • Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner, Raleigh, N.C.
  • David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, Calif.
  • Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
  • Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans
  • Marc Vetri, Vetri Cucina, Philadelphia

Outstanding Pastry Chef 

  • Juan Contreras, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
  • Kelly Fields, Willa Jean, New Orleans
  • Meg Galus, Boka, Chicago
  • Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles
  • Pichet Ong, Brothers and Sisters, Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Restaurant 

  • Balthazar, New York City
  • Fig, Charleston, S.C.
  • Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
  • Quince, San Francisco
  • Zahav, Philadelphia

Outstanding Restaurateur 

  • Hugh Acheson, Atlanta (Empire State South, Five & Ten, The National)
  • Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group, Chicago (Boka, Girl & the Goat, Momotaro)
  • JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans
  • Ken Oringer, Boston (Little Donkey, Toro, Uni)
  • Alex Raij and Eder Montero, New York City (La Vara, Txikito, Saint Julivert Fisherie)
  • Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group, Philadelphia (Fork, High Street on Market, High Street on Hudson)

Outstanding Service

  • Brigtsen’s, New Orleans
  • Canlis, Seattle
  • Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colo.
  • Saison, San Francisco
  • Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco
  • Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Outstanding Wine Program 
• Bacchanal, New Orleans

  • Benu, San Francisco
  • Miller Union, Atlanta
  • Night + Market, Los Angeles
  • Spiaggia, Chicago

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer

  • Cathy Corison, Corison Winery, St. Helena, Calif.
  • Ann Marshall and Scott Blackwell, High Wire Distilling Co., Charleston, S.C.
  • Steve Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wines, Napa, Calif.
  • Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, Maine
  • Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda, Calif.

Rising Star Chef of the Year

  • Ana Castro, Coquette, New Orleans
  • Alisha Elenz, MFK, Chicago
  • Alexander Hong, Sorrel, San Francisco
  • Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya, Philadelphia
  • Kwame Onwuachi, Kith and Kin, Washington, D.C.
  • Jonathan Yao, Kato, Los Angeles

Best Chef: Great Lakes (Ill., Ind., Mich., Ohio)

  • Diana Dávila, Mi Tocaya Antojería, Chicago
  • Jason Hammel, Lula Café, Chicago
  • Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute, Chicago
  • David Posey and Anna Posey, Elske, Chicago
  • Noah Sandoval, Oriole, Chicago
  • Lee Wolen, Boka, Chicago

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (Del., Md., N. J., Pa., Va. and Washington, D.C.) 

  • Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C.
  • Tom Cunanan, Bad Saint, Washington, D.C.
  • Rich Landau, Vedge, Philadelphia
  • Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa, Philadelphia
  • Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore

Best Chef: Midwest (Iowa, Kan., Minn., Mo., Neb., N.D., S.D. and Wis.) 

  • Michael Corvino, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Michael Gallina, Vicia, St. Louis
  • Ann Kim, Young Joni, Minneapolis
  • Jamie Malone, Grand Café, Minneapolis
  • Christina Nguyen, Hai Hai, Minneapolis

Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)

  • Sean Gray, Momofuku Ko
  • Brooks Headley, Superiority Burger
  • Daniela Soto-Innes, Atla
  • Alex Stupak, Empellón Midtown
  • Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, Via Carota

Best Chef: Northeast (Conn., Mass., Maine, N.H., N.Y., R.I. and Vt.)

  • Tiffani Faison, Tiger Mama, Boston
  • James Mark, North, Providence
  • Tony Messina, Uni, Boston
  • Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA
  • Benjamin Sukle, Oberlin, Providence

Best Chef: Northwest (Alaska, Idaho, Mont., Ore., Wash. and Wyo.)

  • Peter Cho, Han Oak, Portland, Ore.
  • Katy Millard, Coquine, Portland, Ore.
  • Brady Williams, Canlis, Seattle
  • Justin Woodward, Castagna, Portland, Ore.
  • Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle

Best Chef: South (Ala., Ark., Fla., La., Miss. and Puerto Rico)

  • Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar, Oxford, Miss.
  • Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans
  • Slade Rushing, Brennan’s, New Orleans
  • Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery, New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast (Ga., Ky., N.C., S.C., Tenn. and W.Va.)

  • Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah, Ga.
  • Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, N.C.
  • Cassidee Dabney, The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.
  • Ryan Smith, Staplehouse, Atlanta
  • Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis

Best Chef: Southwest (Ariz., Colo., N.M., Okla., Texas and Utah)

  • Charleen Badman, FnB, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye, Austin, Texas
  • Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie, Austin, Texas
  • Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Austin, Texas
  • Steve McHugh, Cured, San Antonio

Best Chef: West (Calif., Hawaii, Nev.)

  • Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
  • Jeremy Fox, Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica, Calif.
  • Jessica Koslow, Sqirl, Los Angeles
  • Travis Lett, Gjelina, Venice, Calif.
  • Joshua Skenes, Saison, San Francisco

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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